Illicit Thrill goes out of its way to make their clientele feel special. Whisked away to a private bar upon entry, you are welcomed into the room by a suited man in a gimp mask giving out raffle tickets, blinded by the light of a ludicrously big disco ball. You can tell this is going to be a unique experience. And yet again, Illicit Thrill does not disappoint.
Their latest showcase, Where Do We Gogo From Here, is another hour of debauched, wicked fun. The crowd need no encouragement, grinning like Cheshire cats and immediately giving themselves over to the show. Hosting with confidence and wit is Gypsy Charms, who often meanders through the audience to deliver her juiciest jokes: “I’ve got G-strings older than you, son,” she proudly announces to one bashful onlooker. She lures the audience into the right mindset, spelling out the rules of engagement as she kicks the show off with a bright lights extravaganza.
The whole troupe feel distinct, with their own personalities, but all possess dominating control over their crowd. Roxy Stardust is phenomenal, combining striptease with a foul-mouthed caricature of Scottishness. The audience are in bits whenever she comes out with her next round of blasphemy. Savannah Duvall and Ivy Paige deliver sensual performances, reaching out into the crowd expecting big tips from their eager fans (you are given Illicit Thrill minted money on entry). They are supported by the boylesque performer Impressive Johnson, AKA Gimpy – as quirky as he is kinky – who gets his own moments to shine as the night draws to a close.
Delightfully dirty, Illicit Thrill is everything that it promises to be. Any priests in the audience would be crossing themselves if they weren’t told to keep their hands by their sides. After nearly an hour of striptease and rollicking fun, the women of the moment take time to ask the audience to show their support for what they do. With a public consultation on strip clubs in Edinburgh underway, Illicit Thrill’s title is more than clever wordplay. It is a genuine question. Their latest show is a phenomenal example of what good shows like this can do. All the performers preach a message of respectful perving, consent and pride that makes their onstage exploits all the more magnificent.